The Texas Association of Community Colleges recently announced the creation of a new Texas Success Center, which is designed to "provide statewide coherence and coordination to the state's approaches to student success and to advocate for related policies," according to an informative article by Reeve Hamilton in the Texas Tribune.
The idea is to coordinate the various programs on campuses presently engaged in the so-called completion agenda. "We find ourselves initiative rich," Lone Star College chancellor Richard Carpenter said. "All of these initiatives must be herded."
Importantly, the funding will come from private foundations. The Texas Network, supported by TCCTA and its Foundation, along with other partners, will provide the platform for online professional development.
Those who observe Texas higher education policy might wonder where the Coordinating Board fits in this new development.
Here is a key passage from the Tribune piece:
In Texas, separate from the national push for such centers, a desire for a new entity—aside from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board—to serve as a hub for community college policy and advocacy has been percolating for a few years.
In 2011, Texas legislators added a rider to the state budget allocating up to $350,000 to hire a national consultant to develop a blueprint for a community college system. In 2012, the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems delivered its report, recommending the creation of a "Texas Community College and Workforce Policy Center."
The report said “important constituents have lost faith in the [coordinating board’s] ability to play the role of state system administrative body for community colleges.” Then-chairman of the coordinating board, Fred Heldenfels, issued a response calling that a “misplaced assertion” derived, in part, from a failure to interview key lawmakers and policy leaders.
While it closely mirrors the approach recommended by the 2012 report, [TACC president Rey] Garcia said the new center was not a direct result of that proposal. "I think this center is a demonstration that the 50 colleges, when they want to, can act cohesively and in a unified way to achieve state outcomes and state goals without having to create a new state agency or bureaucracy," he said.